Watching TV shows and movies on demand has never been easier on your Android device. But what about live TV?
Yes, there are services like Sling and YouTube TV. However, if you know where to look, you don’t need to sign up for their expensive plans. You can use IPTV for free instead. You just need an IPTV app and an IPTV source.
But what is the best IPTV app for Android and Android TV? Keep reading to find it.
What is the IPTV app?
You may have heard of Kodi. Well, IPTV apps are a bit like that. They are media players, but they are empty shells that cannot stream any content without some user input. You are responsible for adding channels, playlists and other sources. As such, they are completely legal.
Normally, you can’t use the apps to watch Netflix, Hulu, or live content from other third-party providers. You need to get the M3U file, which you add to the IPTV app. We do not recommend using them to access illegal streams.
Due to recent crackdowns from Google, the only way to download some of these apps is via trusted APK download sites (although you may find some apps with similar names in the store). We’ve linked them in this article where applicable. If you are also an Apple user, you will find that many of them are still available in the Apple App Store.
1. Smarters Player
If you previously subscribed to a paid IPTV service, there is a good chance that the provider has given you access to a branded version of the IPTV Smarters Player app. It is the software preferred by many distributors.
However, you do not need to rely on a branded version. As long as you have an M3U URL from your provider, you can add it to the app and enjoy all the same features. Even better, this “white label” version of Smarters Player can accept multiple logins, whereas branded versions usually cannot.
The app supports on-demand movies and TV shows, as well as catch-up channels (if your provider offers them). It even integrates with third-party video players (such as Perfect Player and VLC) if you prefer to use their respective interfaces.
Smarters Player is great on mobile devices but really shines on TV. It is definitely one of the must-have IPTV apps for Android TV.
download: Smarters Player Lite (Free version available)
In our opinion, TiviMate is comfortably the best IPTV app for Android TV. Unfortunately, it’s only designed to run on set-top boxes, not your phone.
The app supports multiple playlists, renaming of channels and categories, and hidden categories. You can import custom channel logos, rearrange the order of channels’ appearance in the TV Guide, and take advantage of the search feature (which works with channel names and shows currently being shown).
The free version of TiviMate will be enough for people who have one playlist and don’t watch it much. If you are a premium IPTV user, it is worth upgrading to the premium version. This costs $4.99 per year and allows you to install the app on up to five devices.
You also have the option of a one-time payment of $19.99. If you are interested in TiviMate premium, you can try it out with a 5-day free trial.
download: tifimate (Free, subscription available)
3. OTT Navigator
OTT Navigator is the biggest IPTV competitor of TiviMate on the Android TV platform. Like TiviMate, it is popular with power users.
There is a slight difference between them. The two apps share many similar features. OTT Navigator supports filters (by channels, categories, genres, seasons, years, favorite channels, rating, country), customization of channels, categories and search tool.
In our view, TiviMate’s interface is a bit more modern and the user interface is more user-friendly, but you might think differently. Make sure to check both options before selecting the best IPTV app for your needs.
download: OTT Navigator (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. GSE Smart IPTV
GSE Smart IPTV is one of the most popular IPTV apps for Android and with good reason. First, it is one of the best designed apps out there. Its clear design and cable TV-like EPG layout make it easy to forget you’re even using an app.
Secondly, GSE Smart IPTV is available on a lot more platforms than most of its competitors. You’ll find versions for Android, Android TV, iOS, and Apple TV. The app is also compatible with Chromecast. And remember, you can even install Android apps on Amazon Fire TV devices if you know how to sideload APK files.
In terms of features, GSE Smart IPTV supports EPG content in XML, ZIP and GZ formats. It also provides support for native parental controls and subtitles (SRT files). It can play live streams from HTTP, HSL, M3U8, MMS, RTSP and RTMP sources. The app is ad-supported and suitable for both Android TV and Android mobile devices.
download: GSE Smart IPTV (Free version available)
5. Perfect IPTV player
Perfect Player IPTV is another hugely popular app. It is especially popular among Android TV users who are looking for an alternative to the original Live Channels app. It supports M3U and XSPF playlists. And if you want to add an electronic program guide, you can use XMLTV (ZIP, GZ, XZ) and JTV.
There are also a few different decoding options to choose from, including Auto, Native, Software, Hardware, and HW+. Other features include the ability to watch locally saved content, UDP-to-HTTP proxy server support, and automatic syncing with the desktop version of the app for a consistent experience.
Like GSE Smart IPTV, Perfect Player uses an easy-on-the-eyes theme and takes its design cues from cable and satellite TV EPGs.
download: Perfect IPTV player (Free version available)
6. Lazy IPTV
Lazy IPTV supports M3U playlists in Openview, ZIP and GZ formats. The application can also read playlists in XSPF (XML Shareable Playlist Format) format.
It’s easy to add new content to Lazy IPTV. You can access media on your local file system, as well as paste URLs directly from the web or your device’s clipboard. The application works with HTTP and UDP streams and can play videos directly from YouTube and the social network VK. There is also a built-in audio player for Internet radio channels.
Most importantly for an IPTV app, Lazy IPTV supports Electronic Program Guides (EPGs). It can read XMLTV EPG files saved as open view, ZIP or GZ.
From a usability point of view, Lazy IPTV allows you to add favorites, use nested folders, and create playlist collections. You can export your playlists if you decide to switch to an alternative app. The home screen of the app is also fully customizable, providing an option to add shortcuts to your most watched channels and change the way content is displayed.
Lazy IPTV is great for mobile devices. However, it is less suitable for larger Android TV screens.
download: Lazy IPTV (free)
7. IPTV Pro
Finally, if you have a dedicated Android set-top box that you use to watch IPTV, it’s worth choosing a premium option. IPTV Pro app is a fast and reliable IPTV player for Android.
As you would expect, you can add M3U and XSPF playlists to the app. EPG support comes in the form of XMLTV and JTV. If you have a UDP proxy (installed over your local network), you can use an IPTV app to play multicast streams.
The app offers some customization options as well. It can display the channels you’ve added in a list, grid, or tile view, depending on your preference. It includes a feature that allows the app to auto-start when the host device boots up, as well as a “Resume Watching” feature that can auto-play your recently watched channel.
download: IPTV Pro ($2.99)
What about Free IPTV on Kodi?
In this roundup, we have focused on applications that specialize in IPTV. Kodi can play IPTV content but it does so much more that we didn’t feel it was a fair comparison. Make sure you’re also considering Plex. It does not allow you to add M3U playlists, but it does have some pre-loaded IPTV channels that you can check out.